MOUSS Cooperative Reference Services

1999 Midwinter Meeting
1/30/99 and 2/1/99

Members Present: Ruth Nussbaum & Janie Silveria (Co-Chairs), Mark Allan (2/1), Gary Church, Michael Lorenzen, Wei Ma, Barb Mann, Charles Spetland (2/1)

Guests: Chris Loring (1/30), Susan Curtis (2/1), Robert Foy (2/1)

Wei Ma and Barb Mann will be Co-Chairs for 1999-2000.

Discussion items:
1. Survey re cooperative reference service programs
2. Committee's Web pages and listserv
3. Status of Guidelines for Cooperative Reference Service Policy Manuals
4. Meeting days/times
5. MOUSS Goals & Objectives
6. Connection with LC initiatives on Reference in a Digital Age

1. Survey
Barb handed out a bibliography on cooperative reference she had compiled, and noted the lack of recent articles on the subject. This may be because information is presented at conferences and online but no recent research/reports have been published in the library literature. Committee discussed doing a survey to elicit information on who's doing cooperative reference and how, particularly what has worked successfully. Perhaps this could be done in conjunction with the LC initiatives on digital reference. Dissemination could be via listservs, mail to state library agencies and consortia listed in American Library Directory, and/or a Web-based form on the committee's Web pages.
(Question: is funding available for postage etc.? Answer, from 2/1 MOUSS Exec Com: possibly; apply to RUSA office.) Particular areas of interest to investigate: multitype cooperation; service to special needs populations such as the disabled, prisons; consortial buying of reference resources. Action items: Janie will send Barb citations from the LC Institute focus group on collaborative reference networks.
- Charles will forward info on the recent cooperative reference conference in MN.
- Michael will send his unpublished article on international cooperative reference.
- Others will forward any citations or links they find.
- Janie or Ruth will check with Cathleen Bourdon about funding for postage.

2. Web pages and listserv
Barbara D'Angelo is the new MOUSS Webmaster; the MOUSS pages will be revamped and each committee will have its own page. Wei will be the contact person for sending committee information to Barbara. Types of information might include: Names/addresses/email links for committee members, link to guidelines, minutes, Barb's bibliography, and other publications; survey form.
Action items:
- Wei will consult with Barbara about format and begin sending in committee pages.
- Janie or Ruth will send (electronically) a list of members to Wei.
Listserv - It was decided we will not have an actual listserv for the committee, since most institutions charge fees for setting up and maintaining this service. Instead, committee members will create their own mailing lists and nickname files.

3. Guidelines
Robert Foy, MOUSS representative to the RUSA Publications Committee, brought up the question about publication of our guidelines in print format to the Publications Committee; he related that Cathleen Bourdon said that since the guidelines were not substantially revised from the model outline published in RQ in 1995, they would be published only on the Web. Robert urged that we pursue this if we were not satisfied with this decision. (Later note, from MOUSS Exec Com: Carolyn Mulac also pursued this question with the RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee, and at that meeting Cathleen said to resubmit the guidelines to RUSQ.)
Action items:
- Michael will look at the guidelines to see if they can be revised to incorporate developments in electronic/remote reference.
- Janie or Ruth will then resubmit the guidelines to RUSQ.

4. Meeting days/times
The Saturday meeting is a conflict for two members. For the future, committee will consider having one long meeting on Monday morning rather than two shorter meetings. At Annual, our meeting is already set, for Monday, June 28, 9:30-11 a.m. (Later note from MOUSS Exec Com: MOUSS is considering having all committee meetings scheduled at the same time, in the same hotel.)

5. MOUSS Goals & Objectives:
Partnerships - the committee discussed groups we might consider for partnering or informal liaison:
Within RUSA
- MARS, Local Systems & Services. Within ALA
- ACRL Distance Learning Section, GODORT, ASCLA. Outside ALA
- EDUCOM/EduCause, NECC (National Educational Computing).
Virtual members - We are one of the 3-4 MOUSS committees with a virtual member, Charlotte Evans. We have received very little guidance from ALA or RUSA on how best to incorporate virtual members into our discussions. A possibility for the future is Web conferencing/chat. For now, we will send Charlotte copies of all emails (her address:

6. Connection with LC initiatives on digital reference
LC has proposed three possible projects, and has asked for feedback and potential partners: a Web-based clearinghouse of information on remote reference; a cooperative 24/7 remote reference service, and standards for librarian competencies in providing reference service in an electronic environment. Janie helped facilitate a focus group on collaborative reference networks at last summer's LC Institute. LC is apparently unaware of the work of our committee and other RUSA groups in these areas. Janie, Ruth, Barb and Wei will attend future LC meetings and report back to the committee on activities and possible connections.

Submitted by Janie Silveria